Power Africa Visits First Solar
When the U.S. Government announced Power Africa 2.0 earlier this year, it firmly committed to expanding support for U.S companies looking to do business in Africa’s energy sector. Power Africa uses the combined tools and resources of 12 different U.S. Government agencies to help American companies build power projects and close sales in Africa’s energy sector — solving energy poverty with American solutions. To advance this effort, we recently got on the road to meet with companies in Ohio and Michigan to learn more about their innovative products and technology, and to work with them on how we can help them grow their businesses in Africa.
On July 9, Power Africa’s interagency team, led by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz, visited First Solar at its manufacturing facility in Perrysburg, Ohio. Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, and the largest U.S. manufacturer of solar modules. It has been a Power Africa partner since 2017.
First Solar’s thriving facility in Perrysburg is slated to expand production of the company’s new “Series 6” thin-film PV module in 2019, which will bring the company’s annualized U.S. manufacturing capacity for PV modules to a total of 1.8 gigawatts (GW) of panels, all while creating 500 new jobs in Ohio!
The key to First Solar’s success is ingenuity. Solar plants using First Solar thin film PV modules demonstrate consistent performance and reliability advantages over conventional silicon-based modules. According to First Solar’s Lou Trippel, Vice President of Product Management, “Series 6 modules utilize proven thin-film technology to deliver a unique combination of real-world performance advantages and long-term reliability. For asset and power generation owners, engineers and installers, this means more power per module, low balance of system costs, rapid installation and a lower Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for a superior return on investment.”
Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz commented, “a lot of people don’t realize that the work that the U.S. Agency for International Development and other U.S. Government agencies that promote foreign trade, investment and development do create thousands of jobs here in the U.S. By 2050, Africa’s population is going to exceed 2 billion people, which will present a tremendous opportunity for U.S. companies to sell their products and services. First Solar offers exactly the type of cutting edge American technology that will transform the lives of millions of people.”
With the launch of its Series 6 module, First Solar is well-positioned to increase its footprint in sub-Saharan Africa where it has sold 70MW of solar PV modules to date. With over 17GW of modules sold worldwide, First Solar is keen to expand its footprint.
Said Stefan Degener, First Solar’s Head of Business Development for Europe and Africa:
“A number of countries in Africa have hot, humid environments in which our technology thrives, delivering more energy than conventional silicon panels. This potential makes the region tremendously exciting and we look forward to working with Power Africa to accelerate the adoption of photovoltaic solar power generation across its key markets.”
In October 2017, Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), through the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Scaling Solar program, selected French renewables developer Neoen and First Solar to build a 47.5 MW solar park that will be Zambia’s first utility-scale solar power plant. Power Africa supported Scaling Solar in Zambia with a grant — an example of how Power Africa is helping build stable investment markets and multilateral partnerships to create new opportunities for U.S. companies to invest and sell their products. Through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Power Africa is further supporting First Solar/Neoen’s project development in Zambia through a loan of up to $13 million for a term of 20-years after the commercial operations date. The project is expected to reach financial close in late 2018, and it is estimated that it will provide electricity access to approximately 12,000 homes (60,000 people).
About First Solar:
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (“PV”) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The Company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment.
For more information about First Solar
Address: 28101 Cedar Park Blvd, Perrysburg, OH 43551